Jenna Bush Hager says Newsweek cover calling George H.W. Bush a ‘wimp’ confused her: ‘He was our hero’

Jenna Bush Hager said a controversial Newsweek cover depicting the late George H.W. Bush as a “wimp” confused her as a child because the former president was always a hero in her eyes.

Back in 1987, Newsweek published a story about the then-vice president seeking his own White House bid titled, “George Bush: Fighting the ‘Wimp Factor.” The story hit newsstands when Bush Hager was only 6 years old, but it left a lasting impact on the granddaughter of the 41st president, who died on Nov. 30 at age 94.

“When we lived here in D.C., when we were in elementary school, [I] have this vivid memory of going to the grocery store, I was with my mom, and saw the cover of Newsweek that said ‘Wimp’ and it had a picture of my grandpa next to it. It confused me, it confused us, because he was the antithesis of a wimp,” Bush Hager said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

“He was somebody that showed us that family matters. He never was looking at work when we were next to him. He was present. He played with us. He made us feel special,” Bush Hager continued. “He spoke softly and he didn’t speak about himself, he was humble. But why did that have to equate to being a wimp? And it didn’t to us. He was our hero.”

It seems that the man responsible for calling Bush a wimp agrees with Bush Hager, even if it took him decades to admit it. Earlier this week, former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas said he regretted using the word “wimp” to describe H.W. Bush.

Thomas – in an op-ed for Yahoo – wrote that he edited the story and added the word “wimp” despite objections from the story’s reporter

"But the clear implication of the cover story… was that Bush somehow lacked the inner fortitude to lead the free world,” he wrote. “How wrong we were… As the 41st president, Bush was anything but a wimp.”

Bush Hager – who is now a 37-year-old NBC correspondent – spent a significant amount of her childhood in the spotlight. Her father, George W. Bush, followed in her grandfather’s footsteps as the 43rd president of the United States.

All living current and former presidents, as well as world leaders and other distinguished guests, joined the Bush family for the state funeral of H.W. Bush on Wednesday.

George W. ended the tributes by delivering an emotional and personal eulogy for "a great and noble man."

"We're gonna miss you," the 43rd president said of his father, the 41st president, as Bush Hager looked on. "Your decency, sincerity and kind soul will stay with us forever."

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.